South Carolina Top 80

Team 3

Coach: Antonio Threadgill

#4: 5’8 ’19 Russell Jones of Westwood (Columbia)

Starting things off, we look at a player that brings as much excitement as any player in the country, Russell Jones. He’s a point guard with a high IQ and phenomenal understanding of the game, able to manipulate opposing defenses exactly how he wants. “Good” players try to see a play or two ahead of the action while Jones is far beyond that; his ability to read the floor and create for others is truly incredible. He’s blindingly quick with the ball and blows by any defender in his path. Jones is a really strong three-level scorer that gets to the rim with ease; he is crafty and has the tendency to find angles on finishes and passes that other players simply don’t see. People will immediately point to his size and claim he’s “too small” to be a D1 guard, and Jones will make believers out of them all. He possesses a certain electricity that affects his teammates positively; everyone on the floor benefits from Jones’ presence and playmaking. Next in his development process is moving better without the ball, as he could harness spot-up opportunities and hurt opponents even more. Coach Threadgill on Jones: “Russell has a nice tight handle and great basketball IQ. He’s very good at running a team; among his best attributes is his dribble penetration ability, finishing through contact, and strength. Russell has a great stroke and very good shot mechanics. At the next stage of his game, he needs to learn how to play without the ball in his hands.” The South Carolina Top 80 Mr. Playmaker is a near-lock to breakout of his shell this season, where he should be an unquestioned leader and floor general at Westwood.

#22: 6’0 ’18 Robert Guyton of Myrtle Beach Christian (Myrtle Beach)

Next, we look at a player that is able to control the game with or without the ball in his hands, Robert Guyton. He’s a guard with toughness and a very well rounded game on both sides of the ball, always playing with a high motor and doing whatever possible to make life difficult for his opponent. Offensively, Guyton scores efficiently from all three levels and understands how to play with the team. He never forces the action and has a really high IQ. Guyton is able to create a shot quite well for himself and others, which allows him to slide over as the primary ball handler when necessary. He’s the type of player every team wants to have, as he will outwork everyone on the opposing team. Next in his development process is working to become laterally quicker, as it would raise the ceiling of his defensive abilities. Coach Threadgill on Guyton: “Robert has a very high IQ and plays hard every single possession. He has a good handle and can score the ball on three levels. Robert likes to play off-ball [on offense] but is better with the ball in his hands. Once he moved to the point, the play of his team improved; he knows how to make others better. At this point of his game, he just needs more reps to build his confidence. I really enjoyed coaching him and will check him out this year during the high school season.” Guyton is undeniably productive and will become a coach-favorite upon deciding where he’ll further his education.

#27: 6’0 ’18 Grant Singleton of Lakewood (Sumter)

Moving onto a player that shot the nylon off the net throughout camp (on all three levels), Grant Singleton. He’s a combo guard that settled in nicely playing off-ball, hitting shots and benefitting from the phenomenal spacing. Offensively, he must be accounted for, or else he will fire away and burn opposing defenses. Close out too hard and Singleton is blowing by and finishing strong at the cup. Singleton sees the floor well and understands how to maximize his value in transition, where he always seems to be finishing or assisting on the play. On the defensive end, Singleton is smart and strong enough to defend either guard position quite well; he shows no quit and looks to be a vocal presence. Next in his development process is continuing to add strength and get reps, as he is already a terrific two-way player that belongs at the collegiate level. Coach Threadgill on Singleton: “Grant is a great shooter who shoots a high percentage because his shot selection is excellent. He’s a very unselfish player that gets his team involved frequently. Grant is a great finisher in transition and runs the floor exceptionally well. He’s very crafty; I would like to see him be more assertive on the offensive end because he is so efficient. In the last game, Grant made countless plays that led to our win.” Singleton should enjoy a nice season at Lakewood, where his on-court ability should immediately translate to wins.

#46: 6’2 ’19 Zach Baldinelli of Boiling Springs (Inman)

Continuing onto a player that is so polished and capable of excelling with any group of teammates, Zach Baldinelli. He’s a wing that has a high-level IQ and understanding for the game on both ends of the floor. Baldinelli is able to do pretty much anything on the offensive end: handle (and distribute) the ball, score on all three levels, spot-up, and even use his size around the basket against smaller defenders. He’s an outstanding teammate that seems to never make an error, never turning over the ball and always finding the best option available. Baldinelli is what many would describe as a “gamer,” especially given his phenomenal motor and ability to affect the game without the ball in his hands. He’s already a strong defender that knows how to force opponents into tough situations, typically leading to turnovers. Next in his development process is continuing to work on his quickness, as he will be able to blow by defenders and get to the rim much easier. Coach Threadgill on Baldinelli: “Zach just gets it. He plays very hard and he’s fundamentally sound. I have loved coaching him; he can score the ball from anywhere and does whatever his team needs to win. You’ll never catch him in one spot because he moves so well without the ball in his hands. Zach is one of those players that everyone loves to play with. He hit some clutch shots throughout the day.” Baldinelli certainly earned his Second Team All-Camp honors and should keep playing the exact same way this season at Boiling Springs, as his recruitment will be forced to rise.

#51: 6’2 ’20 Tristan Freeling of Wando (Mt. Pleasant)

Next, we look at a player with a well-rounded game on both ends of the floor and terrific nose for the ball, Tristan Freeling. He’s a wing that does anything possible to involve himself in the action, playing with a high motor and harassing opponents into just giving up the ball. Offensively, Freeling has so few holes that he can spot-up, create a shot for himself, or drive and finish with either hand. He rebounded exceptionally well for his size and showed grittiness when defending in transition. Next in his development process is continuing to work on the consistency of his jumper, as it’ll make him a more efficient scorer. Coach Threadgill on Freeling: “Tristan is not the best athlete but boy does he bring it! He plays so hard and gets a ton of 50/50 balls because he just seems to have a knack for getting to the ball. Tristan is very fundamentally sound; I would like to see him work on his handle going forward but he’s already a nice player. He’s a glue-guy when he’s on the floor and he hustles to give his team more possessions. I can’t wait to hear good things about him this high school season.” Freeling made a definite impact on both ends of the floor and was an integral part of his teams’ success.

#70: 6’4 ’18 Kris Hickman of Darlington HS (Darlington)

Moving onto a player who is already productive but still possesses major untapped potential, Kris Hickman. He’s a big, strong athlete that fits in nicely on the wing, where he’s able to display his length and versatility on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Hickman knows how to get to the rim fairly well, has a nice pull-up jumper, and is a quality cutter without the ball. In transition is where he truly thrives, where he’s able to play above the rim and harness easy scoring opportunities. Hickman is a team-oriented player that does whatever he needs in order to make an impact. Defensively, his size and quick feel allow him to shut down most opponents; he’s a strong team defender, too, always looking to send appropriate help. Next in his development process is working on the consistency of his jumper, as it would warrant him a lot more scoring chances. Coach Threadgill on Hickman: “Kris is very athletic and can finish above the rim; he’s at his best in transition, where his athleticism is really showcased. He plays really hard and enjoys being coached. Kris has a few things to improve on to round out his game, such as ball handling. Once he gets that down, he will be really good, given his already productive skillset.” Hickman should be among the leaders for Darlington this season, so we expect him to put on a show.

#75: 6’4 ’19 Ja’lil Robinson of Gray Collegiate (Columbia)

Continuing onto a player that is able to affect the game in a variety of different ways on both ends of the floor, Ja’lil Robinson. He’s long and wiry, which he knows how to properly use to his advantage, especially on defense. Robinson plays with a high motor and was able to force a ton of turnovers with his length, always getting into passing lanes and immediately pushing the break. He can defend multiple positions well and consistently displays great instincts when defending the ball. Offensively, Robinson is a capable shooter from all three levels, but strokes it best from distance on catch and shoot chances. He also has terrific vision and frequently looks to create for others, especially when penetrating to the basket. Next in his development process is continuing to work on the efficiency of his jumper, as it would bring his offensive game to a new level. Coach Threadgill on Robinson: “Ja’lil has great length for his position. With his long reach, he’s able to guard three positions comfortably and successfully. He has a great attitude and looks to be having fun on the floor; he needs to polish up his shooting and ball handling to be a better prospect. Ja’lil has a good three-point shot and can get to the basket pretty easily. He’s a great kid to coach and has definite ability to play at the next level.” Robinson will certainly step into a larger role with Jalek Felton now gone, and it’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to it.

#94: 6’6 ’19 Dontavius King of Legacy Early (Greenville)

Next, we look at a player who was utterly dominant on both sides of the ball throughout camp, Dontavius “Donta” King. He’s a tweener that is able to get it done at either position. Offensively, King displays his superior athleticism off nearly every possession, soaring in for rebounds, getting his elbows above the rim on dunks, or leaping across the lane for blocks. King can shoot the three-ball, but is undoubtedly at his best inside the arc, where he just barrels opponents down en route to the rim. He also showcased the ability to work out of the post, which proved to be an efficient scoring method that he could regularly go to against smaller players. On the defensive end, expect King to be right in his opponents face, ready to rip him clean and throw it down; he’s smart and plays angles really well. He’s basically unstoppable in transition, and his vision makes it very difficult for opponents to predict what he wants to do. It’s easy to see the smooth development for King, who should certainly be discussed with the top 2019s in South Carolina. Next in his development process is working on the consistency of his three-point shot, as he would become literally unguardable on offense. Coach Threadgill on King: “Donta has elite athleticism and can play either the 3 or the 4. He’s an excellent finisher, especially in transition where majority of his trips ended with big dunks. Donta has so much potential; I would like to see him work on his ball handling a little bit more in order to improve his dribble-penetration.” King was impressive throughout camp and is absolutely deserving of his First Team All-Camp selection; he should start dominating everyone this season at Legacy.

#100: 6’7 ’18 Ahkeem Lawson of Lakewood (Sumter)

Moving onto a player that is already undeniably productive, but has even more upside, Ahkeem Lawson. He’s a forward that can play inside or out, though he’s certainly better around the basket, where he’s able to properly use his size, length, and strength to get what he wants. Offensively, Lawson operates well inside the arc, especially on drive opportunities where he can play above the rim or distribute the ball to teammates. He’s smart and wants to make the right decision at all times. Lawson displays a high motor and it’s especially evident on defense, where he will outwork opponents to 50/50 balls whether his team is winning or losing. Lawson’s footwork is excellent and he uses both hands to finish around the basket. Next in his development process is working on the consistency of his three-point shot, as it will allow him to demand a ton of attention on offense. Coach Threadgill on Lawson: “Ahkeem is a great finisher that can use either hand really well. He is very good at squaring up and beating players to the basket and finishing. I would like to see him work on his outside jumper, to set up his drive easier. In the last game, Ahkeem brought “it” by playing excellent defense on one of the top players at camp. He has a lot of tools to work with and could play at the next level.” Lawson and his team of phenomenal athletes should enjoy a nice season at Lakewood this winter.


#108: 6’8 ’20 PJ Hall of Dorman (Moore)

Finishing up, we look at a player who could easily be referenced as the best player from camp when looking back, PJ Hall. He’s a big man with amazing polish and nearly no holes in his game, which is astounding for his age/size. Offensively, Hall can do anything, from threes (pull-up or catch and shoot), to post work, to exquisite passing out of the high post. Most players that are this skilled offensively have no desire to do anything other than score, but not Hall, who prides himself on being a great teammate, leader, and doing anything possible to help his team win. He’s already a major plus with rebounding and blocking shots, and shows no fear defending anyone on defense. Hall has an incredibly natural mind for the game, and it’s clear in with his subtle but strategic movements on both ends of the floor. Though it has been stated before, the sky is the limit for Hall, who has unlimited upside and could easily end up at a blue-blood program. Next in his development process is working on his lateral quickness, as it will allow him to defend the entire paint with much less strain. Coach Threadgill on Hall: “PJ has a great attitude and loves to learn; he plays very hard and cleans up the boards with the best of them. He’s a very skilled power forward that can play with his back to the basket and step out to hit open three-pointers. PJ is a high major player. The next stage of his game will be his ball handling. PJ is an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker.” College coaches need to start taking notice, as Hall just picked up his first offer from Presbyterian, and it’ll be one of many to come.

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